NK Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Sewers for Wickford

A total of 9.93 percent of North Kingstown voters came to the polls, with about 85 percent voting in favor of the three bond questions on the ballot.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
Wickford businesses will get sewers after a total of 2,162 North Kingstown voters came out to vote in a special bond referendum on Tuesday, overwhelmingly supporting the measure.

A total of 9.93 percent of North Kingstown voters came to the polls, with about 85 percent voting in favor of the three bond questions on the ballot. The sewer bonds were posed in two questions. Question 1, which asked voters to authorize $6.6 million to install sewers primarily in the Post Road north area, passed with 1,884 yes votes and 275 no votes. Question 2, which asked voters to authorize $4.9 million for the Wickford commercial area, passed with 1,872 votes in the affirmative and 284 in the negative.

A third ballot question asking voters to grant the town permission to sell the property at 80 Cross Park Ave., also known as the property adjacent David R. Burnham Public Works Facility, passed with 1,695 votes in favor and 337 against.

Several Town Council members celebrated the results Tuesday night, saying it was a victory for the town's economy and the future of Wickford.

"With the passage of these bonds, Post Road will be fully sewered and available for new economic development opportunities.  Also, the commercial area of Wickford Village will be attractive to more diverse businesses and will once again become the bustling village it once was," said Members Elizabeth Dolan, Carol Hueston and Kerry McKay in a joint release. "All of North Kingstown will greatly benefit from your support for these economic development projects."

The successful referendums also will help the town market the former Wickford Elementary School, which appeared to be close to changing hands, with private developer Stanley Weiss proposing the Wickford Inn and Conference Center. That deal fell through last week after Weiss declined to sign a third extension of a purchase and sales agreement with the town.

In the wake of that deal falling through, the town issued a release stating "if the Wickford Sewer Bond passes on Tuesday, we will have the opportunity to remarket the property as a more desirable sewered site."

The passage of the bonds was cheered by members of the business community. 

"A new day dawns in Wickford!" said Ellen Waxman, owner of Five Main, a gallery on Main Street in Wickford.

Waxman has been at the forefront of the sewer issue, rallying supporters on social media and advocating for the sewer bonds for months. She is also the chairwoman of the Wickford Economic Development Advisory Board.

Politics Sheriff of NK June 18, 2014 at 11:26 PM
Let's move forward. Let's name it the Liz-n-Carol Sewer!
Donna Schopac June 19, 2014 at 10:53 AM
Will see how many businesses come to Wickford, But can't get in because they don't like them because they're not good enough to be in Wickford. Just like the shop that was in where Ryan's Market was. Besides all the stores close so early. People can't always shop in the mornings or early afternoon. Some people do work til 5pm, and like to shop in early evening.
Jeff Crawford June 19, 2014 at 11:40 AM
I am all for a Holiday Inn Express for the former Wickford El property. It could be the host site of the Wickford Art Festival each year and Alex and Ani could supply the wine.
underwhelmed June 19, 2014 at 04:34 PM
I can't believe all the negativity (reality) being spewed here about the center of NK. I can't wait for the first attempt to open a late night bar or other establishment where music will be heard for 2 blocks. Remember the battle cry "built it and they will come to Wickford". I think Brown St. should be closed to trafffic at 7 p.m. and a nightly block party should begin promptly, last call at 1 a.m. Sweep the street and roll out quaint little Wickford for all the tourists and shoppers. Then at 7, oh well I'm just expressing my fervent hopes for the revitalization of the epicenter of action in NK. All aboard!!
Jeff Crawford June 20, 2014 at 07:44 AM
I don't think it's negativity. I think it's more of the lack of trust on the part of the Town Council when this whole idea to bring sewers, first to all of the Town waterfront areas including the residential properties to solve the pollution problems, and now, for this phase, to just the Wickford Village commercial properties and businesses. Remember, the first $1 million dollars to be put toward the bond was from the sale of the former Wickford El building and property and that fell through last week for some reason. Now, the approval for $6 million + is the price tag for bring the line into the village. Remember, the original estimate earlier this year was $3 million +. I have not heard if this includes the pump stations which will be necessary to get the waste to the main line or actually which plan was approved for the installation. Once again, and as I stated above, the whole story has not been relayed to the entire NK taxpayer family. Nine percent approved the plan and if the businesses fold or file suit to block the plan, who ultimately will pay, EVERYONE. I hope the Town is ready to open the doors to commercial businesses and corporations who have the deep pockets to pay and support the upkeep and maintenance of the system.


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